Toward an Empirical Theory of Feedback-Driven Development

Moritz Beller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Software developers today crave for feedback, be it from their peers or even bots in the form of code review, static analysis tools like their compiler, or the local or remote execution of their tests in the Continuous Integration (CI) environment. With the advent of social coding sites like GitHub and tight integration of CI services like Travis CI, software development practices have fundamentally changed. Despite a highly changed software engineering landscape, however, we still lack a suitable description of an individual's contemporary software development practices, that is how an individual code contribution comes to be. Existing descriptions like the v-model are either too coarse-grained to describe an individual contributor's workflow, or only regard a sub-part of the development process like Test-Driven Development. In addition, most existing models are pre-rather than de-scriptive. By contrast, in our thesis, we perform a series of empirical studies to describe the individual constituents of Feedback-Driven Development (FDD) and then compile the evidence into an initial framework on how modern software development works. Our thesis culminates in the finding that feedback loops are the characterizing criterion of contemporary software development. Our model is flexible enough to accommodate a broad bandwidth of contemporary workflows, despite large variances in how projects use and configure parts of FDD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE '18
Subtitle of host publicationCompanion Proceedings
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5663-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventICSE 2018: 40th International Conference on Software Engineering - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 27 May 20183 Jun 2018
Conference number: 40


ConferenceICSE 2018
Internet address


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